Monday, February 08, 2010

A Note From A DUI Attorney

DUI Laws for repeat offenders

DUI laws against repeat offenders become severe every year, and most states consider a third or fourth offense as Felony DUI which has harsher penalties and longer consequences. Some states, like the state of Texas will consider a person as a “repeat offender” when the person is found with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.15% or more even on a first DUI offense. Other states refer to repeat offenses for any subsequent offense within a seven year or ten year period from a previous one.

According to surveys carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), repeat DWI offenses have varied from 20% up to 50% in some states over the past few years. This may include DUI arrests as well as DUI convictions, depending from state to state. These surveys and statistics also show that those convicted with a DUI have a higher probability of having a repeat offense than those who are not convicted the first time.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) and other organizations that are pro-active on drunk driving work hard to increase the penalties as set under the DUI laws in different states, making it difficult for those convicted with DUI to get away easily. They also make it hard for repeat offenders to continue to move around with the same privileges and freedom as before. Several states follow specific approaches to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses, along with driver’s license suspension and vehicle impoundment, which are listed below.

Installation of Ignition Interlock devices

Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device is required as a penalty in drunk driving cases, which has to be installed in every vehicle used and driven by the offender. The device measures the Blood Alcohol Level of the driver through a breath test before the car is started and prevents the car from starting with BAC levels of 0.2% or 0.4% or more in some cases. The driver is also required to give breath samples from time to time during the drive, to make sure that BAC is under control all the time. The device records the Blood Alcohol Concentration levels as well as engine stops and starts to prevent anyone tampering with the device.

Electronically Monitored House Arrest

This is another approach to prevent repeat offenses, as it ensures that the person will stay within a certain limit in an assigned area. During these house arrests, a device is attached to the offenders ankle or wrist to send continuous signals to a computer telling their whereabouts. The offender is also prompted to submit to a breath test at any random time when prompted by a phone call.

Intensive Probation along with Alcohol Treatment

The court may order probation for an offender who appeals in court, instead of a jail sentence. The conditions of parole or probation have to be followed strictly by the offender, to avoid landing in jail. During this time, the offender must not violate the law at any cost, or drink alcohol and follow any other laws as required by court. The offender is required to regularly report to the prison office every month and has to maintain a job during this period as well.

States like Texas and Florida, along with others, are working hard on enacting harsher penalties and sentences for DUI offenders. Effort is in progress to pass a legislative bill to institute a mandatory minimum of two year prison sentence for fourth time DUI offenders, and not reduce the sentence by any kind of substitution. If bills like these are passed, most states will become harsher for repeat DWI offenders. Therefore, it is essential to prevent a subsequent DUI offense to show up on your record at all costs if you have already been charged before. For first time offenders, it is equally essential to prevent their charge from becoming a DUI conviction. Getting help from a capable and qualified DUI lawyer in the area where you have been arrested is highly important to prevent being convicted of DUI. Sites like can make it easy for you to search and hire a drunk driving defense lawyer in any state of the nation.

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